Stan Taylor (l) of the BP ship construction site team is congratulated by Richard Vortmann after welding his initials into the keel of Hull 486, signifying the start of construction on the vessel. National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) held a keel-laying ceremony for Hull 486, the third of four Alaska Class, double-hull oil tankers being constructed for BP Oil Shipping Company, USA. BP's Site Team Member Stan Taylor welded his initials into the keel to signify the start of construction. The first ship, the Alaskan Frontier, is being prepared for sea trials and will be delivered later this year. The second ship is undergoing construction and is scheduled to be delivered in 2005, with the third and fourth ships to be delivered in 2005 and 2006. The four ships are being constructed sequentially in NASSCO's 1,000-ft. graving dock. "These tankers are environmentally friendly ships incorporating the latest in tanker design and construction," said Richard Vortmann, president of NASSCO. "They will provide BP with the best available technology to protect US waters." Vortmann said the design of the 1.3-million-barrel-capacity tankers in the Alaska Class will allow maximum flexibility for oil deliveries to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles and Cherry Point, Wash. "The BP tanker contracts have created hundreds of jobs for NASSCO and San Diego," added Vortmann, "and we are continuing to hire people to fill hundreds of positions that remain available for this and other shipbuilding programs. These ships are contributing millions of dollars in payroll, tax revenues and purchases from local suppliers each year during the life of the contracts."